Basic Information

Our Solution

Rosebud Sioux Tribe Strategic Energy Plan

Our tagline:

Bringing sovereign, renewable energy to the Rosebud Reservation.

Our pitch:

Rising energy costs have resulted in economic hardships for many residents of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. This trend can also be dangerous as a lack of energy caused by these financial burdens can become incredibly dangerous in the harsh winter months. Because of these issues, and many related ones, we are proposing a long-term plan to harness the energy-generating characteristics of our geographical location. Our land is rich with resources that lend themselves quite well to the creation of energy including opportunities for solar, hydro-powered, and geothermal energy. In addition, the tribe itself would have ownership of and responsibility for these systems which allows for greater economic opportunity for the local community. Rather losing the dollars being paid paid to the utility companies, we can maintain the dollars generated in our community and provide economic opportunities through the jobs created in the maintenance of these systems. In addition to having created a long-term plan, we have also worked to realize some of these ideas. For example, we've installed 5.83 kW roof-mounted photovoltaic cells on ten houses maintained by the local tribal housing authority. These buildings, and the housing authority's admin building, are also equipped with closed-loop ground source heat pumps. Another project we have completed is to provide solar energy for the homeless shelter located in Rosebud. Providing renewable energy helps our community in many ways. First, working with the environment is a part of our cultural identity. Working to reduce the carbon footprint from our reservation aligns very well with our views on maintaining and living with the Earth. Second, we will be able to provide energy to our tribal members more affordably, and ease the financial burdens created by rising energy costs. Finally, it allows us to push towards true sovereignty, independence, and self-sustainability. Our plan, and work thus far, addresses energy, but a successful endeavor here will help our community, our tribe, in so many more ways.

Where our project is located:

Rosebud, SD, USA

The topic our project addresses:

  • Solar
  • Infrastructure
  • Housing
About Your Solution

What makes our project innovative:

We're applying existing renewable energy technology to a new domain. Developing our community with this technology is an exciting idea for us and something that is also very new.

How we use technology in our project:

We have used photovoltaic cells to harness solar power, and closed loop ground source pumps to harness geothermal energy. We hope to move into hydropower solutions that work with our rivers to generate even more energy for us.

Our project goals over the next 12 months:

Currently, we are working on finalizing a grant with the DOE, and working with General Electric in order to supply even more solar panels to our community. These panels will be given first to the families who heavily utilize LIHEAP, and then move towards those who could help us finance their panels out of their own pockets. We are also working to finalize the creation of a new tribal utility that will be responsible for all of this work in the long-run.

Our vision over the next three to five years to grow and scale our project to affect the lives of more people:

We are looking to extend our renewable energy resources to the entire Rosebud Sioux Tribe. This includes the installation of renewable sources of energy for different peoples homes, businesses, and community buildings. It also includes effectively utilizing the entirety of the resources located on our lands, and expanding to different sources of energy as we grow.

Highlights from our project:

Installing the solar panels for the housing authority homes as well as the homeless shelter.

The cities where we operate or plan to operate in the next 12 months. First city:

Rosebud, SD, USA

Second city:

Mission, SD, USA

Third city:

Antelope, SD, USA

Fourth city:

Saint Francis, SD, USA

Fifth city:

Two Strike, SD, USA

How our project will be accessible and affordable to our community:

We are dedicated to providing our services to the community in ways that are accessible to everyone. Because of this, we are always looking for new grants and opportunities that provide the resources to support those who cannot support the energy initiatives themselves.

How many people we are currently serving with our project:

Currently, we are serving a small sub-community within the Rosebud with solar energy and geothermal heating. We are also serving a homeless shelter with similar services.

How many people we will be serving with our project in the 12 months and the next 3 years:

In the short term, we hope to lay the groundwork for further development. This includes the final steps for the creation of our tribally-owned utility. From there, we'll work to increase the number of homes and buildings served by our efforts.
About Your Team

How our project team is organized:

Hybrid of For Profit and Nonprofit

Explaining our organization:


How many people work on our project team:


How many years we have been working on our project:

5-10 years

Our revenue model:

We've been relying on grants in order to sustain our efforts, and this should be enough as we expand at least in the short-mid term. Then, once we've installed some renewable energy sources for larger organizations, we can establish an income stream and use that revenue as a supplement for grants.
Partnership Potential

Why we are applying to Solve:

Having worked with MIT before, we know that they can provide a great deal of support. We're excited about the opportunity to connect with the vast network that Solve can provide. The financial support is great, of course, but we're really interested in help in the areas mentioned below.

The key barriers for our project:

Navigating federal agencies, especially as they relate to our reservation is something that we could always use more help with. Also, training and maintaining a workforce capable of acquiring, installing, and maintaining these systems is something that will be a hurdle.

The types of connections and partnerships we would be most interested in if we became Fellows:

  • Technology Mentorship
  • Grant Funding
  • Debt/Equity Funding

Other types of connections and partnerships we would be interested in:


Solution Team

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